The African Origin and Evolution of Salsa
What is Salsa? It is a fusion of different types of dance and music styles, such as the Rumba Yamba (the oldest form of Rumba), Cuban Son, Cha Cha Cha, Mambo,
Danzon (mainly played for the so called “elite” where people of colour were not allowed unless they were a “domestic” or a member of the band),Son Mountuneo and
Bumba (Puerto Rican). The word “Salsa” is the umbrella name used to cover the many different styles of this music that encompass this genre. It was first attributed, in the 1960s, to a Venezuelan DJ who announced the music as salsa. Benny More, a Cuban band leader, would also say “hola salsa” (which translates as hello or hi sauce). The kitchen references “let’s cook up something” are often used in this music. Modern salsa dancing is essentially a partner dance where the male leads the female in skilful ways with clever moves. The female shows her skill in following the lead with her own improvisation and personal styling. Sometimes the partners will separate and do what are known as shines; ie footwork and styling to the individual’s own taste and then come back together on time to complete the dance.
To understand the development of what we call salsa today, we need to examine its historical and cultural development from the time when en-slaved African people were shipped to the Americas, including the Caribbean. From its African roots, salsa first developed in Cuba. As Thomas Guerrero, the Director of Santo Rico Dance Company has said, the origins of salsa lie in Africa and the Cuba. It became popular throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, and finally made its way to mainland America and even the U.K. It is now truly global. #ReconstructingOurAfricanMinds #Salsa
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